Embedded SIMs or e-SIMs will make it easier to track lost devices and improve connectivity, Bharti Airtel Chief Executive Officer Gopal Vittal said in a public note on Tuesday.
"Additionally, in instances of theft, if your device gets stolen, it will be that much harder for criminals to get rid of your e-SIM, since they are unlike the traditional SIMs that could be physically removed from phones. This will also make a lost smartphone easier to track," Vittal said in an emailed statement to Airtel customers.
An e-SIM is an online extension of regular SIM cards. Unlike physical SIM cards, e-SIMs are embedded chips in advanced smartphones, laptops, and wearable devices such as smartwatches. It's programmable remotely via software and is built into devices. While all three private telecom service providers had begun offering e-SIM services in India since last year, Vittal's statement shows the service is becoming mainstream and that companies want to popularize the technology.
Vittal urged consumers to easily incorporate e-SIM enabled devices in their daily lives, such as by using e-SIM enabled smartwatches during their morning jogging, while their phones stay at home.
"Today, some smartwatches and newer models of smartphones are e-SIM enabled. In these times of digital-first lifestyles, where mobiles, tablets, and watches are all interconnected, the e-SIM will provide seamless connectivity for you. The iPhone 14 series launched by Apple in the United States last year is an e-SIM only handset."
E-SIMs also allow users to use multiple mobile numbers on a single e-SIM and make it easy to change devices.
The global market size for e-SIMs was valued at more than $1 billion in 2022 according to multiple research firms.
One of the major use cases for the tech lies in the travel space whereby international travellers do not need to go through the process of purchasing a local SIM card when visiting a new country. They can instead activate the services of a local telco on their smartphone.
At the India Mobile Congress 2023 in October, machine to machine communication service provider Sensorise announced plans to launch India’s only existing consumer travel e-SIM, aimed at corporate travellers and students.